Not To Heaven, but FROM Heaven
From Heaven, To Earth
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know."
How many of my readers have heard someone use this verse to describe what heaven is going to be like? How many of you have heard a preacher talk about how this verse means that Jesus is going to take us to heaven to live there forever? But is this what Jesus was trying to teach?
It states, “I WILL COME AGAIN.” He will come again from heaven to earth, just like His first advent. The two men in white understood this in Acts 1:9-11 when they stated that Jesus would come just like He had been taken up. The clouds received Him and He will come with the clouds in power and glory. “This same Jesus… shall so come in like manner…” So if Jesus stated he would come again from heaven to earth, and then stated that at that time He would receive His disciples unto Himself so they can be together, it stands to reason that He was speaking of a place, a house, mansions, or a kingdom here on earth.
How many readers of my blog have heard how this passage means that Jesus is going to take us up to heaven at the rapture? How many of you have heard that the coming that Paul wrote of in I Thessalonians 3:13 is a completely different coming that he wrote of in I Thessalonians 4:14? But did Paul write about two separate comings of Jesus? Notice how both verses talk about how Jesus comes WITH the saints.
This passage in Thessalonians is not talking about how Christians end up in heaven. It is talking about how Christians wind up on earth in their resurrection bodies. It does not say that Jesus comes FOR the saints, but WITH the saints. The passage is a description of how Jesus comes WITH the saints. In I Thessalonians 3:13 it states that the coming of the LORD Jesus will be WITH all His saints. When we reach chapter 4, we see that Paul is revealing that as Jesus descends WITH the saints (read 4:14 to see that Jesus brings the saints WITH Him) those bodies in the grave rise to meet the souls in the air as they descend to earth. Those who are still living who have survived the great tribulation will be translated without having to experience death. But the entire context is that Jesus comes WITH the saints.
Jude 14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
He comes with ten thousand of His saints. WHY? To execute judgement. Psalm 96 and 97 speak of this coming of the LORD for judgement. It is an ongoing judgement whereby He rules over the earth. That is why creation is rejoicing because the Creator is here in person as clouds and darkness are round about Him. “Say among the nations that ‘the LORD reigns’”, Psalm 96:10. What nations are we saying this among as He comes to judge the earth?
Psalm 110 is quite graphic. It describes the Messiah being sent from heaven to earth to rule in the midst of the Messiah’s enemies. Messiah then smashes the Gentile nations by striking through kings in the day of His wrath. Of course this is the Day of the LORD which includes the battle of Armageddon. Psalm 110:1 speaks of Messiah’s ascension into heaven until the time is right for Messiah to defeat His enemies; see Acts 2:34 and Hebrews 1:13 to see how the New Testament writers applied this verse. Revelation 19:11-6 is a picture of the Messiah as Warrior at the battle of Armageddon. So God is dealing with nations as nations, not simply with the individuals within those nations.
Psalm 72 is another descriptive psalm which tells us of a dominion of a King who will judge the poor of the people. If you notice, there are other kings which serve Him during this time, vs. 11. This is the time when the earth will be fruitful and bring forth abundantly, vs. 16. This is also described in Joel 3:16-18 and Amos 9:11-15.
The language of animals living at peace with each other in Isaiah 65 is identical to the language of Isaiah 11. That is because it is a description of the same Messianic Kingdom, when the root of Jesse (Jesus) reigns with the governments upon His shoulders. He will reign upon the throne of David in His Kingdom here on earth to order it, to establish it with justice and judgement beginning for a thousand years, and then forever, Isaiah 9:6-7. Jeremiah 23:5-7 and 33:14-18 also describe this reign of the righteous Branch of David (who is a King) as He executes justice and judgement on the earth with the nation of Israel dwelling safely after they have been regathered.
Israel’s repentance is what prompts the second coming of Messiah from heaven to earth to establish His thousand year kingdom. Read Acts 3:19-21. Peter tells the religious leaders, “Repent… and He shall send Jesus Christ…” The plain language states that heaven will only receive Him until the times of restitution of all things. When Israel repents, then the Father sends the Son. It will be the time of restitution.
The clearest passage which spells this out is Zechariah 12. The LORD begins to save Judah, Jerusalem, and Israel. The Messiah descends and they look upon the One whom they pierced with their own eyes. Those Israelites who make it through this time of trial before the Messiah Jesus comes back from heaven to earth will be about one third, Zechariah 13:9. When Messiah comes, the day of the LORD comes, Zechariah 14:1. After His return, He goes forth to the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4. His feet touch the mountain to show He is back on the earth and ready to assume His place as King over the whole earth, Zechariah 14:9. Continuing to the end of the chapter, we see nations which reverence the LORD by observing the feast of tabernacles. Some nations do not worship the King, who is the LORD of Hosts. These nations will not be extended the blessing of rain upon their crops during this Messianic Kingdom. This is what is meant by the nations which are saved walking in the light of the New Jerusalem. Those who do not reverence the king and are unrighteous, will not be able to enter the city.
The ultimate fulfillment of the New Covenant which was inaugurated in the blood of the Messiah includes Israel existing as a nation before the LORD. The new covenant was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-37. It states that “if heaven above can be measured… I will cast off all the seed of Israel.” And “If those ordinances (sun, moon, and stars) depart from before me… then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me.” The New Covenant is with the house of Israel. Gentiles are allowed to participate in the LORD’s covenant with Israel by faith.
As far as the resurrection, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 25:8 in I Corinthians 15:54 when speaking of the Christian resurrection from the dead. Examined in context, we see that Isaiah 25:8 is a resurrection that will occur alongside the destruction of the veil spread over all the nations, 25:7. This is at the beginning of the reign of the LORD in Jerusalem, 24:23. This is also the time when God will dwell in the midst of His people, 25:9. This resurrection is further described in Isaiah 26:19-21.
In short, the LORD comes, He raises the dead, He pours out His wrath, He destroys the veil over the nations, He binds Satan and the host of the high ones into the pit, and He reigns from Jerusalem – all in the same time frame. This is fairly plain in reading Isaiah 24-27 which is known as Isaiah’s little apocalypse.
The rewards are positions of authority within Messiah’s Kingdom here on earth. “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” The twelve apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30. When the kingdom comes on earth like it is in heaven, as taught in the LORD’s prayer, many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the Kingdom of God, Matthew 8:11. This shows an earthly location with an invitation extended to all the earth to come inside the Kingdom of God, Messiah’s Kingdom, and eat with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Luke 13:29.
It’s not off to heaven we go, it’s from heaven He comes. It’s not to heaven, but from heaven. He will come from heaven to earth.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman